We should be seeing regular brands building unique, street-focused, compact utilities with big engines within the next few years. Right now we have a wave of luxury RAV4-sized CUVs running around 500 hp engines. Think Stelvio Quadrifoglio, GLC63, the upcoming F-Pace and Velar SVR, plus XC60 Polestar, X3M, and wow thats actually a lot of performance utilities all hitting the market this year and next!! Problem is the price points though since all these high-powered high-bodies will end up running around $70,000.
In fact, there is enough room for automakers that already have performance cars to slot a “premium,” performance focused small crossover into their lineups. Think about what Kia is doing with the Stinger. The difference is that Dodge, Ford, and Chevy can take advantage of the same market with a CUV rather than a liftback. These crossovers would also bridge the branding gap between the Escape and Mustang or Equinox and Camaro.
I don’t want to keep beating this idea over the head since I guarantee this segment is on the way regardless. So, let me give you some quick examples using Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge.
Alpha platform like the Camaro, ATS, and CTS. What you end up with is something as usuable as an Equinox and slots in at the top end of its range, while giving you a RWD/AWD, 5-door Camaro. You end up with a running Stelvio for at least $10,000 less.
Crossbow 1lt 2.0t - I4, 275 hp / 295 lb-ft ($31,000)
Crossbow 1lt 3.6L - V6, 335 hp / 284 lb-ft ($35,000)
Crossbow SS - 6.2L V8, 455 hp / 455 lb-ft ($43,000)
Crossbow ZT1 - 6.2SC V8, 640 hp / 650 lb-ft ($66,000)
Add $2,000 for AWD, and then standard on the SS and ZT1 (or whatever RPO it would get).
I’m actually not sure what platform this would go for since the bottom end makes the most sense to share with the Focus but sharing with the Mustang would open up the top end. I’m going Focus.
Exalt Ecoboost - 2.3T I4, 310 hp / 280 lb-ft ($33,000)
Exalt Sport - 2.7T V6, 370 hp / 375 lb-ft ($39,000)
Exalt RX - 3.5T V6, 450 hp / 500 lb-ft ($45,500)
Exalt Shelby GR-X - 3.5T V6, 520 hp / 530 lb-ft ($54,500)
I could honestly see Ford going standard AWD on all but the entry 4-cyl. I also think this scheme doesn’t step on the toes of the FoRS, Mustang, future Bronco, or Raptor due to being a mostly V6 compact crossover designed for street rather than track or trails.
This one would be on the Giorgio platform just like every other upcoming car FCA is about to begin launching finally. I’m pretty sure the 5.7L is being replaced with a turbo-pentastar but for now I’ll leave it here so that it’s a bit more unique compared to the similar-sized Alfa and larger Maser.
SXT - 3.6L V6, 300 hp / 260 lb-ft ($32,000)
R/T - 5.7L V8, 370 hp / 390 lb-ft ($37,000)
SRT - 6.4L V8, 475 hp / 470 lb-ft ($48,000)
SRT Hellcat - 6.2SC V8, 707 hp / 650 lb-ft ($69,000)
I’d go AWD standard on the SRT models. Plus we technically don’t have a Hellcat branded CUV.
Let’s call the weights between 3,600 lbs to 4,200 lbs. I didn’t do a huge market check on this one but I think most of the pricings are realistic (for the current market). But the big takeaway is that compact, near-premium performance high-bodies have a pretty big market opening. I’m sorry.
*Give me some props for Chevy Crossbow because that is so clever it’s too sharp for the kitchen! Get it? Cross. Bow. Chevy...Bueller?!